Hope Springs: Pitchers and Catchers Report!

Aren’t you impressed that I refrained from using a caps locky title with multiple exclamation points? BUT IT WAS SO TEMPTING!!!!

Monday was the big day for pitchers and catchers from several MLB teams to report. Others, like my Yankees, report Tuesday. And then you have those like my second husband Derek Jeter recovering from surgery and other ailments who have been at their respective training facilities for a while. All this to say HOORAY FOR BASEBALL’S WELCOME RETURN! How about a photo essay?

Let’s start with new Jay R.A. Dickey, who is kind of an awesome human being in case you weren’t aware. It’s going to be tough cheering against this new AL East foe.

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There’s something about a maple leaf on R.A. Dickey’s hat that makes him even more endearing. (Canadian Press photo)

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Moneyball Lives…For Now: The End Of Season/MLB Playoff Omnibus

Although it wasn’t quite up to the standards of last year, with the meaningful games being all about playoff seeding instead of mere survival, at least we had the Oakland A’s and their surprising AL West Title win to entertain us. Is this truly the year of Moneyball? Or is it just going to be the Yankees, Cardinals, or Rangers taking the pennant again? We discuss!

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Hit and Run: In a New York Minute

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39, and yet he still does this. (Photo: AP)

Sweet American Jeebus. Because having two aging outfielders simply wasn’t enough for the Yankees, they shipped two prospects to Seattle today in exchange for one Ichiro Suzuki. Classic Cashman for you: just when you think he isn’t going to make a move in late July, this happens.

A part of me didn’t feel the move was necessary. The Oakland series notwithstanding, the team has played well in the absence of leftfielder Brett Gardner, who is now out for the season. But the Yanks do miss his stolen bases, of which Ichiro has 15 this season. That’s more than Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez combined.

So YAY, WE HAVE ICHIRO! Although I feel for Mariners fans, who have had the pleasure of seeing him play in Seattle his entire MLB career.

Ichiro isn’t the only pro athlete packing his bags for the Big Apple… Continue reading

Random Things I’ve Learned By Listening to Playoff Baseball on the Radio

As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I don’t have cable, and though my boyfriend has been happy (or at least pretends he’s happy) to let me watch the Cardinals games on his TV, for many of the other games I’ve been listening to the radio feeds through MLB.com.  It’s been quite some time since I’ve listened to baseball on the radio on a regular basis, and even longer since I listened to any baseball on the radio that involved non-Cardinals announcers.  It’s quite instructive. Some things I’ve learned:

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Every. Game. Counts. (A Regular Season Wrap Up and Playoff Preview)

Let’s just put aside the fact that I had an actual rooting interest last night — everything that happened in baseball over the last 24 hours makes my brain scream this song:

As someone who has spent the last two weeks watching the Cardinals wait until the last inning to win or lose what seemed like 95% of their games, one of the most surreal things about last night was that St. Louis was the only team that got their game settled right out of the gate, batting around in the first inning and scoring five runs before recording a single out.  Which left me free to enjoy the one day MLB.tv subscription I paid 3.99 for Tuesday night as a mostly impartial fan (possibly the best 4 bucks I’ve ever spent, even if I couldn’t get the Rays-Yankees because of blackout restrictions, and had to switch to the Phillies-Braves radio feeds for the latter innings because of too much traffic on the video feed (and my crappy bandwidth).  At one point, I had three GTalk conversations going and was on the phone to my parents; 99.5 % of the discussion revolved around baseball (I did manage to discuss Christmas arrangements with my folks.  I’m not totally obsessed.)

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Hit and Run: Root, Root, Root Edition

Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I am rooting for Clayton Kershaw these days. And no, it’s not just because he’s on my fantasy team. He happens to have just slid past Johnny Cueto for the NL ERA title — although it’s a slim enough margin that a bad inning could knock him right back into second. I still bear Cueto a grudge for kicking Jason LaRue in the face and ending his career last season, so I would prefer he not win anything for quite some time. Of course, at the moment Cueto’s on the disabled list and hasn’t yet pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, so it may become Kershaw’s anyway. Karma’s a bitch, Johnny.

Baseball’s regular season is winding down, but there’s plenty of other things to root for:
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Your wait is over.

The rotation that will haunt our dreams. (AP Photo)

High socks. Eye black. Dusty mounds. Cliff Lee. Baseball is back for reals, and we at Ladies… couldn’t be happier. Many of us have spent the last few days figuring out how to weasel out of whatever we’re going to be up to at the time our respective favorite teams are playing. Me? TWO HOUR MEETING when Mike Mussina throws the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium. How am I supposed to sneak my phone in to listen to the game? ARGH! (although Games Mistress told me there was lots of rain expected in New York Thursday, so I may get my wish after all.)

It’s Opening Day for these Ladies… faves. Let’s see what they’re up to today:

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Down To The Wire

Say goodnight, Ozzie. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

It seems like only yesterday we were squealing with delight about the arrival of the 2010 Major League Baseball season. Now here we are in the final weeks of the regular season. Some fans will be packing away their Pirates and Mets tees away with their capri pants and strappy sandals, reflecting on a season that should have been. But others will be biting their nails and rocking back and forth on their couches, popping Tums and living in fear that the stupid Rays will take the AL East (OK, maybe that’s just me)

Here’s a quick look at how the race to the postseason is looking heading into tonight’s games, and how this prognosticator (HAHAHAHA!) sees it going down:

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Call-Up Cuties Returns: Welcome to the Show, Boys

It’s not quite September yet, but plenty of baseball teams  have already started calling up fresh faces for their major league debuts — which means even if your team is out of any meaningful chance at the playoffs (or if you’re trying to ignore the fact that your team is giving away the division right after reclaiming first place, sigh) there’s still plenty of good reasons to watch the games.  I mined the MLB transaction ledger to find every first-time call-up since July 31.  You can thank me later.

Ryan Kalish, LF Boston Red Sox

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Baseball Rookies on Parade!

Here we are, a little over a month into the new baseball season.  While we try to not panic/be overly confident about our favorite teams’ and players’ seasons thus far,  it’s hard not to get a little excited about the breakout rookies.  Yes, it’s true that some (most)  rookie hot streaks don’t last, and a .360 batting average in the first six weeks of a major league career isn’t necessarily a harbinger of a long and prosperous career.  Still, ten Aprils ago, that’s what they were saying about Albert Pujols.

Let’s meet a few of the newbies, shall we?

Jaime Garcia

OK, not technically a rookie (he appeared mostly in short relief  in 10 games in 2008 before needing Tommy John surgery), but he’s a Cardinal so I’m bending the rules.  He’s also the first lefty to start for the Cards since Mark Mulder and he is awesome. After what the Phillies did to Santana, I was scared to death that Garcia’s hot streak was about to get clobbered by Utley and co. … and then he held them to three hits over six innings.

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The First Season Fan Part II: Midseason Anxiety

My friend Sarah is a big basketball and football fan, but as long as I’ve known her she’s never been particularly interested in baseball. This year she’s decided to change that. In Part I, Sarah explained how she chose the Braves as her team.  After the jump, she explains why being a baseball fan in general is turning out to be easier than a Braves fan in particular, and how she’s slowly overcoming her fear of being hit by a ball.

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All-Star Posts, All-Star Posts, Come And Get Yer All-Star Posts

Good morning. How can you just walk on by without one tear in your eye?

(Incidentally, that song reminds me of this, which I swear only makes me cry because I’m listening to that damn song. Insert “unhealthy obsession” comment here.)

(Yes, I know that you’re getting this post after the afternoon post. It’s still morning in California.)

The current All-MLB RAR leader.

The current All-MLB RAR leader.

The rest of the All-Star awesomesauce is after the jump, but first: SPOILER ALERT! NO RED SOX OR YANKEES! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!.

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The Last Time Your Team Won it All: Baseball Teams

world-series-trophy

I got the idea for this post when I was talking to my friend about the last time the Yankees won the World Series. It’s almost going to be nine years, but nine years isn’t that long. If I ever complained about a nine-year World Series drought to a Cubs fan, I would more than likely get a smack in the face…and it would be completely warranted.

However, when I think back to where I was the 2000, it seems like ages ago. The last time the Yankees won it all I was a freshman in High School. It feels like I graduated from H.S. ages ago; forget about actually being a freshman. The bottom line is we all follow our team with one goal: to see them win it all at the end. Don’t get me wrong, you can still enjoy the season, but you are never fully satisfied unless your team is the last one standing. Unless you root for the Phillies, Red Sox or Cardinals, the last time your team won it all can seem like a lifetime ago.

So let’s take a little trip down memory lane and see what life was like the last time your team were World Champions. Sorry to all Washington, Milwaukee, Houston, San Diego, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Texas, and Seattle fans. You need to have won at least one to qualify.

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The All-Star Break Called… Part Deux

So I’ll admit it, I am a total snob when it comes thinking that the AL is superior to the NL.  I don’t know if its the designated hitter deal, the difference in stadium size (I like my homers in the AL), or the tighter strike zone… whatever it is, I’ve always considered the NL to be the red headed step child of Major League Baseball.  But I set those feelings aside to bring you the All-Star Team of the National League,  Ladies… style.

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It’s Opening Day!

The Ladies have spies everywhere.

The Ladies have spies everywhere.

Today is a rainy Monday in New York, but I do not care because somewhere in this country, a major league baseball game is only hours away.  Yup, it’s Opening Day — as long as you are not the Phillies and Braves (played last night), or the Royals and White Sox (snowed out — sorry, Minda!). It’s still a national holiday in my head; it’s too bad my employer doesn’t recognize those.

Anyway, to celebrate, here’s a brief photo recap of the Official First Game of the 2009 season.  Welcome back, boys!

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The First Season Fan Part I: Why the Braves?

My friend Sarah is a big basketball and football fan, but as long as I’ve known her she’s never been particularly interested in baseball. This year she’s decided to change that. We’ll check in on her every so often throughout the season and see how she’s doing with her newfound fandom. After the jump, Sarah explains her history of ambivalence with the sport and how she decided to become an Atlanta Braves fan while living in New York.

Kenshin Kawakami: a new Brave for a new Braves fan

Kenshin Kawakami: a new Brave for a new Braves fan

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Hot Stove Hotties: Because we don’t hear nearly enough about Mark Teixeira

Each week this Hot Stove season, we’ll look at some done deals and juicy rumors involving our favorite MLB hotties, and the occasional not-really-a-hottie, but still worth talking about.

Ugh. Can free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira just go away already? Seriously, this garbage has gone on ALL offseason. It’s ridiculous; the guy should just sign somewhere and get it over with. He has a great deal of talent, but I’m sick of typing all those E’s and I’s all the time, you know?

Yay, Im holding up the whole market!

"Yay, I'm holding up the whole market!"

Jerk. Here are the latest Tex rumors, and there’s more Hot Stove stuff after the thing. Continue reading

Hot Stove Hottie timeout: Farewell to Mad Dog

Normally at this time we’d be covering the things that went on in the MLB markets in the past week, but this week we’ll stand aside to tip our caps to one of the most brilliant pitchers our generation has seen or will ever see. Winter meetings are going on right now, and you can get all kinds of updates from MLB Trade Rumors, as well as great updates directly from Vegas from Will Carroll, John Perrotto, and Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

Now, on to the very sad business of Greg Maddux announcing his retirement today.

The Mad Dog in his Braves days

The Mad Dog in his Braves days

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Thursday’s Hottie Hit n Run

Bronx Hottie Alex Rodriguez became the first Yankee to homer twice in one inning since Cliff Johnson did it in June 1977. Nicely done, A-Rod. The club had been planning on taking Rodriguez out of the lineup last night because of a hurting ankle, but he insisted on playing and it obviously paid off as they beat the Mariners 10-2, giving them a 3-game lead in the Wild Card race. Also, my law school fantasy team thanks you for the two homeruns. [Two Homers in an Inning? That'll Do, Pig.]


Levitating bat!
Toss him in the river, see if he floats!

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Hump Day Hottie: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

What did the fans of the Texas Rangers do to get so lucky? Not only did they land my darling Kason Gabbard, they also picked up the hottest guy on the market, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. And they’ve already assimilated him!

Let’s travel back to The Day, you know- two days ago. Back when all was right with the world, and Salty was in the red and blue of the Braves, instead of the red and blue of the Rangers. This will be the only time you ever hear me say something good about the Braves- but their roster is chock full of hotties, and it’s sad to see Jarrod relegated to Dallas. At least he’ll have Kason to keep him kompany– they can share their letter-related woes as well: since Kason was stuck with a typo maybe Jarrod can lend him a spare letter.

See a full lineup of Salty-in-Braves goodness after the jump…

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